Rags to Riches (song)

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"Rags to Riches" is a 1953 popular song by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.[1] The music is based on a Spanish or a Latin American melody.[citation needed]

The best-known version of the song, recorded by Tony Bennett with Percy Faith and his orchestra, was number one for eight weeks on the Billboard chart in 1953 and became a gold record.[2] In the same year, a version by David Whitfield reached number three in the British charts[3] and one by Billy Ward and his Dominoes with Jackie Wilson singing lead made number two on Billboard's R&B chart. Later recordings by Sunny & the Sunliners (#45 in 1963)[4] and Elvis Presley (#33 in 1971)[5] also made the Billboard charts.

In popular culture[edit]

Tony Bennett's version was used at the beginning of the film Goodfellas, just after Henry Hill closes the trunk of the car and says in voice-over, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster."[6] The song was also used in an episode of Columbo.[7]

The opening line of the song was sung regularly and exuberantly by the character Carmine Ragusa on the television series Laverne & Shirley,[8] typically when he had good news.

Jackie Wilson's version of the song is featured in the 2010 video game Mafia II.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Suskin, Steven (2010). Show Tunes: The Songs, Shows, and Careers of Broadway's Major Composers (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-19-531407-6.
  2. ^ Evanier, David (2011). All the Things You Are: The Life of Tony Bennett. John Wiley & Sons. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-118-03354-8.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2005). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Ltd. p. 546. ISBN 1-904994-00-8.
  4. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard: 16. December 21, 1963.
  5. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard: 60. April 10, 1971.
  6. ^ "Goodfellas (1990) : Quotes". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  7. ^ "A Bird in the Hand". Columbo. November 22, 1992. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  8. ^ Brant, Marley (2006). Happier Days: Paramount Television's Classic Sitcoms, 1974–1984. Billboard Books. p. 74. ISBN 0-8230-8933-9.
  9. ^ "Internet Movie Database". imdb.com. Retrieved February 18, 2018.